Controversies surrounding Chinese telecoms company Huawei are not impacting on the company’s business, the firm’s country director for Ireland has said.
Byron Maxi moved to assure current and future customers of Huawei that Google updates on apps on their phones will continue.
The uncertainty regarding Google services followed its decision to pull Android support for Huawei.
This resulted from a ban issued last May by US president Donald Trump against the Chinese firm trading with US companies over national security concerns — claims Huawei reject.
A temporary licence allowing Google to update apps on Huawei phones expires in August. This week Trump signalled an apparent change to his directive, lifting some of the restrictions on trade with Huawei.
Mr Maxi declined to comment on the “political” developments. He said it was out of Huawei’s control and said it “won’t impact on our current business operation”.
He said that, since the middle of May, Huawei’s business has “not [been] impacted” and added:
We are doing business as normal. We don’t care about political noise externally. Our consumer is our main focus.
In Ireland, Huawei has grown to around 250 staff in five offices.
Mr Maxi, who joined the Irish branch in March, said they have almost doubled their presence here, claiming around 20% of the handset market in Ireland, third after Samsung and Apple.
On concerns regarding future Google Playstore updates on apps on its phones, Mr Maxi said he was “100%” sure that these would continue as normal, as per their warranty, for current and future customers.
He said this would happen whether it was a Google solution or an alternative fix. He said he had not seen Huawei’s new Hongmeng operating system, which has been developed following the Google ban, saying it was being kept confidential.
He added: “If one day they [Google] won’t continue business with us we will find an alternative”, indicating that Hongmeng was being kept in reserve, for such an eventuality.
Mr Maxi declined to comment on the company’s dealings with an Irish review of security issues surrounding the establishment of a 5G market. The review is being conducted by the Department of Communications, the National Cyber Security Centre and ComReg.
Mr Maxi said that, from his personal experience of working with Huawei in the US for seven years, there were similar reports, which labelled Huawei as some sort of ‘security spy’ but said that “no one found any evidence” of it.
Huawei issued a statement subsequent to the interview clarifying that it has not been in contact with the National Cyber Security Centre regarding its security review on proposed 5G networks.
"Huawei has established ongoing constructive relationships with the Department of Communications and Comreg," the statement said.
"We consistently work with our key stakeholders to build positive partnerships and are always open in this regard. The Irish government and the IDA have been very supportive over our 15 years in Ireland and our ongoing investment here highlights our commitment to the Irish market as part of our continued joint collaboration with them."
It added: "Huawei has had no active part in, nor been in contact with, the National Cybersecurity Centre regarding its audit of Ireland’s communication networks and 5G. We await the fact-based findings of this audit in due course."